Continous-flow System with Ionic Liquids as Support Phase

Continous-flow System with Ionic Liquids as Support Phase

Author: Anne Deveson

Selectivity, product purity, production efficiency, and flexibility are some important factors for the production of chiral fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals. Walter Leitner and his group in Aachen, Germany, have shown that a combination of a supported ionic-liquid phase (SILP) with supercritical fluids (SFCs) integrated into a continuous-flow process for asymmetric catalysis is a viable option for the production of such compounds.

They followed an integrated approach of concerted development of a catalytic reaction system (molecular scale), the product separation strategy (meso-scale), and the overall process scheme (macro-scale). The asymmetric hydrogenation of dimethylitaconate to dimethyl-2-methylsuccinate was chosen as a model reaction, as enantiopure 2-alkysuccinates are useful building blocks for peptidomimetics, polyesters, and chiral drugs. Essentially chemically and optically pure products were obtained with the catalyst system QUINAPHOS–rhodium, with [EMIM][NTf2], as the ionic liquid, and super critical CO2. This system also reached turnover numbers over 100,000 with space-time yields of 0.7 kg/Lh.

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